The first time novelist might be confused by a revolution in book publishing. An endless choice of publishing companies may leave the head a-spin on where to have your book published. What is the best way to get your book published without being ripped off or stung?
Difference between Mainstream Publishing and Vanity Publishing
The traditional route of finding a literary agent willing to sell your book to a mainstream publisher was once every writer’s dream. Now the writer has more choice. So what is the difference between traditional publishing, vanity publishing and self-publishing?
Traditional publishers such as Penguin, Random House and Harper Collins publish books to sell to the public. Vanity publishers publish books to sell to the author.
Self publishing, explained in more detail in a moment, is do it yourself publishing to sell to the public.
Finding a Good Book Publisher
Traditional publishing houses will take the financial burden of publishing your book, employing editors, designers and market gurus in-house. They will also assign ISBNs and distribute your book for profit to the publisher and royalty payments to you. If your book is a success, your book may be translated into other languages, an audio book made and who knows? The author doesn’t pay a penny.
What is Vanity Publishing?
Now for the type of publisher every writer should avoid at all costs.
Every literary magazine is dotted with self publishing services offered by vanity press that will publish your book for you in exchange for a fee. In return, the writer will get hard copies of his book, an ISBN and in some cases, the book will be formatted for Kindle and put on Amazon. Some vanity publishers will arrange to have a book cover designed and put your book on their website. Writers should beware of these self publishing companies!
Restrictions of Vanity Publishers Contracts
Vanity publishers require payment from you to publish your book. The author may have to sign a contract that robs the author of creative control. Conditions may restrict the author on font choice, the size of the book or design of the cover. They may even ‘reject’ your work initially before referring your book to another publisher after making recommendations. This ‘other publisher’ is likely at the same address. Surprise, surprise, your book has been accepted.
The author may believe that the vanity press exert these restriction for the benefit of the author, but is in fact is for the benefit of the vanity publisher. These restrictions are superficial ways of creating the illusion of quality control, but this is an illusion. Vanity publishers don’t care what they publish, so long as the writer pays up. The vanity press’s website will also appear stocked with quality books, creating the illusion of a publisher to be trusted.
Some of these vanity publishers even have the cheek to boast ‘all copyright remains with the author’. This should be a given.
Is this Book Publishing Company to be Trusted?
Some vanity publishers masquerade as a mainstream publisher or literary agent. Vanity publishers may use a respectable or ‘arty’ establishment as a front, pretending to have high connections and promises of backing this next ‘great sensation.’ Boundaries become blurred. But if the author finds he has to part with one penny for any reason, alarm bells should start ringing. This vanity publisher has just revealed itself to be what it really is. A scam.
Difference between Vanity Publishing and Self Publishing
A further difference needs to be drawn between vanity publishing and self publishing.
In vanity publishing, the author hires a company to publish the book for him in exchange for a fee. With self publishing, the author self publishes himself. As can be seen on this blog, the author can self publish for free. I have provided links on how to self publish without going near vanity publishers, waiting for rejection letters from literary agents or parting with a penny.
The Best Publishers for Self Publishing
If the author cannot find a mainstream publisher, never fear, you can publish yourself without paying a penny. But your book should be exceptional anyway. This will clean up the reputation of the self published writer being substandard. Never ever go near vanity press. The author would do better to self publish alone. This blog shows you how via the links below.
Book Printing on Demand Companies
On demand printing is not the same as vanity publishers. Print on demand (or POD) are simply printers that product copies of your book for you. They provide a clear service for a fee. Print on demand is useful for authors who plan to hold an author event and wish to sell books to potential readers. Vanity press will use print on demand companies as part of their package. But the author would save money by approaching POD companies directly.
Vanity Publishing Scams
As can be seen here, the first time author would benefit from knowing the difference between mainstream publishing, vanity publishing and self publishing.
One day, vanity publishing might be squeezed out by the self publishing revolution. Lessons might be learned by one such self-published writer who had gone the vanity published route only to be dissatisfied with the quality of her book. The company concerned charged a handsome sum to write a very poor blurb full of typos on Amazon. If the writer wants any chance of being a successful self published writer, take the time to learn to do it without having to pay a vanity publisher.
Articles on how to Self Publish your Book